Rock Bottom has, at its heart, an epic sensibility that is screaming out to be synced to a film – probably over the end credits. Yep, it’s that good.
It starts in reverb-drenched piano, the delicate motif building into dramatically hammered chords and a vocal that develops from sensitive and a-ha-esque dynamics into Green Day territory. I loved the use of severe portamento in the melody line, and the power and edge that delivers it. It adds further drama to proceedings, and things get even better at 1-and-a-half minutes when we are treated to an opulent widescreen pad of backing vocals.
The modulating synth bass reminds us that the production is modern, as do the programmed flourishes of rhythm. The vocal arrangement throughout is nothing short of spectacular, inducing a few hair-up-on-the-back-of-the-neck moments that a certain Mr F Mercury would have approved of.
Just when you think you’ve used the word ‘epic’ enough in a review, you have to reach up to the top shelf to retrieve it again for the final minute of Rock Bottom. As well as the fat stack of vocals and twinkling keyboards and guitars (and an anticipated break down moment), we suddenly get a totally unexpected and utterly beautiful moment of smartly-arranged strings right at the death.
It might be a slightly quirky take on indie pop, but that’s exactly what indie pop should be. This track is essential listening.